Crap Your Pants, Say "Waaah!"
The four major labels (there were six when we started banning major labels on Brainwashed: two down, four to go!) haven't woken up to the new reality: more and more people don't want to pay for shitty corporate music and shitty corporate tactics. Why should they? The money isn't going to the artists and it isn't going to hard working employees: it's going to computer companies who develop malicious spyware that destroys your computer, payola, and RIAA lawyers, who continue to sue mothers who have nothing to do with any illegal operations. The majors don't even respect their product as an art form: pick up a major label new release in any store some time and look at the big FBI WARNING that occupies a large percentage of the artwork! Do bands even realize this is happening? Do these people even exist as artists or is the major label world slowly transforming all human beings into business executives with an eye for money and money alone? Shouldn't the FBI spend their time investigating the CIA for faulty terrorist intelligence or "protecting the country?" We all know they failed at least once, but that's no reason to quit and shoot for smaller fish... like your best friend's mom.
The independent labels might have taken a financial hit but that is mostly related and limited to independent distributors' increased difficulty with placing product in stores—I haven't heard anybody complain about online sales and touring merch. Many bands in the independent music world came to terms years ago with the fact that album sales don't bring in much anyhow—it's actually the touring that ends up paying the most. The downside is that it's tough to live in an urban area where the rent is high and time on the road doesn't stop bills from accumulating. Of course, recording "artists" like those found on any Now, That's What I Call Crap compilation haven't had to worry about that for a long time, if they ever had to worry about it to begin with. RIAA members are going to have to learn that they are only choking themselves by fighting the same battles over and over again. Call it Musical Darwinism, but labels cannot possibly survive by trying to change the environment they exist in.
Many lessons can be learned from this, and the major ones are taught in every Business 101: listen to your customers and know your market. Consolidation and merging with large corporations only distances the consumers and the market from the decision-makers. It also has effectively destroyed the identity of labels started by visionaries with dreams in mind by putting the control into stockholders' hands and not into the hands of artists or music enthusiasts.
The major labels need to take this trend as a warning: their days are numbered if they continue to feed consumers crap, destroy their computers, and sue them. How many people would you support who rape your mom then piss all over her?